Movie Review – A Madea Family Funeral

A Madea Family Funeral (2019)
Written & Directed by Tyler Perry

A Madea Family Funeral was filmed in one week. It was filmed before Boo! 2, which was released in 2017. So this means Tyler Perry shot this movie in seven days and sat on it for two years. One reason he may have done this is that he planned for Funeral to be Madea’s swan song; while she doesn’t die, he wants to kill her off and uses this film to wrap it up. He can’t, though. Once again, on a $20 million budget, this picture earned $70+ million. The curse of Tyler Perry is that this character he created to espouse male-centric life instruction to Black women has become a mask he can’t escape. Perry is trapped as Madea for the foreseeable future and is clearly fuming over this.

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Movie Review – Boo 2: A Madea Halloween

Boo 2: A Madea Halloween (2017)
Written & Directed by Tyler Perry

Boo 2 was released the very next Halloween after the previous entry. It makes sense from a money perspective; the first film made $54.8 million. Boo 2 would not be as financially successful, making around $20 million when it finally left theaters. There’s very little to be found about the production of these movies because they are basically glorified sitcoms or YouTuber movies. That’s one element I didn’t discuss in my previous review, but for the Boo films, Perry has chosen to employ several YouTube celebrities. I guess these people are not members of SAG-AFTRA, and thus he can violate labor laws for actors by having them in prominent roles in his movies. Perry is on record for firing four writers who attempted to unionize in the late 2000s, and there was controversy around his decision to hire five non-union actors for his most recent production. 

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Movie Review – Tyler Perry’s Boo: A Madea Halloween

Tyler Perry’s Boo: A Madea Halloween (2016)
Written & Directed by Tyler Perry

In January 2020, while Tyler Perry was on his Madea Farewell Tour stage play performances, he talked very openly about his relationship with the character. When asked if he would miss playing Madea, Perry responded flatly, “Nope.” He went on to explain he never enjoyed playing Madea and that the costume & wig were uncomfortable. Perry would connect the success he saw Eddie Murphy having by assuming the roles of multiple characters and decided to lean into that too. Perry would admit that playing Madea created a $2 billion media empire but still hated the character. In June 2021, Perry & Netflix announced Madea would be returning to a film on their streaming platform. 

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Movie Review – A Madea Christmas

A Madea Christmas (2013)
Written & Directed by Tyler Perry

There are three distinct phases to the Madeaverse that I’ve noticed. From Diary of a Mad Black Woman through Madea’s Big Happy Family, these are mostly stage adaptations featuring predominantly Black casts. Beyond Tyler Perry, there may be one or two “major” Black actors in the production. For instance, Blair Underwood in Madea’s Family Reunion or Angela Bassett in Meet the Browns. Previous to this film was Madea’s Witness Protection, one of the series’s three most financially successful pictures; a budget of $20 million turned into $67 million in box office returns. That film incorporated more white actors (Eugene Levy, Denise Richards, Doris Roberts), which led to the following strange & short era with A Madea Christmas. This was when Perry tried to make movies that would also appeal to white people.

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Movie Review – Madea’s Big Happy Family

Madea’s Big Happy Family (2011)
Written & Directed by Tyler Perry

This is my personal favorite of all the Madea films we watched. It’s all the elements coming together to make what feels like a genuine feature comedy. While it was based on a stage play produced the previous year, Big Happy Family is presented more as a film. It has the highest budget to date of any Madea film at $25 million though it would make considerably less at the box office than the previous entry, Madea Goes to Jail. Here we have Madea at her most animated, doing both physical comedy and some amusing improvised scenes as Tyler Perry brings in Mr. Brown & Cora and introduces Aunt Bam into the mix.

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Movie Review – Meet the Browns

Meet the Browns (2008)
Written by Tyler Perry and Reuben Cannon
Directed by Tyler Perry

By 2008, Tyler Perry had directed four films following the financial success of Diary of Mad Black Woman. That film was number 1 at the box office on its opening weekend and would make $50.7 million worldwide. This propelled the money machine that has been going ever since, though it has slowed a bit in recent years. I chose Meet the Browns as my next film for a couple reasons. The first was that it introduces Mr. Brown and his daughter Cora who are important to the next movie in the series. The second is that Madea’s role is a cameo but communicates some wild new ideas about her that weren’t present in Diary. The plot is also very much in line with the critique from The Boondocks of colorism in Perry’s work. 

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Movie Review – The Diary of a Mad Black Woman

The Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005)
Written by Tyler Perry
Directed by Darren Grant

Tyler Perry is one of the most commercially successful Black filmmakers in American history. That is a fact that we cannot deny. His personal net worth exceeds $800 million; that metric means a lot in America. What about Perry’s films has profoundly affected movies in the United States? What draws audiences to his work? I want to explore that, as well as the controversy surrounding him and his divisive Madea character. We’re going to unpack Perry’s ideology and see how the nature of Madea interacts with that. We won’t be watching every Madea film, but we will watch many of them. I credit the lovely May Leitz and her excellent tier list of Madea movies for inspiring this series.

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